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AI

Report: Conversational AI reduces barriers to mental health treatment

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A new study from Botco AI, a HIPAA-compliant conversational marketing platform, surveyed executives from various types of mental and behavioral health facilities and organizations to understand the impact of the pandemic and how it has increased the need for mental health services. Titled “The State of Conversational Automation and Access to Mental Health Services,” the study also focused on how mental health service providers are using technology to interact with current and prospective patients.

The biggest learning from the study is that conversational AI (artificial intelligence) is a game-changer for behavioral health care. According to the study, “The pandemic’s social-distancing mandates, lockdowns and restrictions prompted the need for online assistance, virtual appointments and digital interactions to facilitate greater accessibility to mental health care.”

Conversational AI eases the pathways to treatment: The overwhelming majority of respondents — 89% — said that automated chat tools make it easier for patients to access the mental health treatment they need. More than three-quarters (76%) confirmed that they used technology for patient coordination and intake, and 61% said that their company’s website is already using conversational AI to answer questions from prospects or their families.

“The findings of this study show how important it is for mental health facilities to embrace new technologies in order to reduce the barriers that prevent millions of Americans from accessing the mental health services they need,” said Anu Shukla, cofounder and executive chairman of Botco AI.

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Increased need for mental health services

While the pandemic disrupted or halted critical in-person mental health services, the demand for mental health treatment actually increased. As a result, 100% of survey respondents expanded their virtual behavioral support during the pandemic.

Approximately 34% of survey respondents acknowledged that their mental health facility, behavioral health organization or addiction treatment center boosted their online assistance 50-75% to help those who were experiencing mental health challenges.

The mental health effects of the pandemic were felt disproportionately: Approximately 41% of respondents believe that the pandemic has made it harder for people in general to access mental health treatment. 55% said that the pandemic has made it harder for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and LGBTQ+ individuals to access mental health services.

The benefits of conversational AI in behavioral healthcare

“These days, video-conferencing capabilities have become table stakes for mental health facilities,” said Shukla, “and many treatment centers are beginning to leverage AI and automation for crucial functions such as prospect qualification, patient intake, and even the treatment itself.”

For patients, digital interactions, online healthcare services and the use of conversational AI technologies such as chatbots can have many benefits, including:

  • Healthcare without geographical boundaries.
  • 24/7 patient support and resources.
  • Ease of booking appointments with therapists and healthcare professionals.
  • Tailored responses that transform their patient journey and help improve clinical outcomes.
  • A user-friendly, judgment-free environment that eliminates stigma and embarrassment.
  • Overcoming potential language barriers.

For providers, using conversational AI to streamline the intake process can play a critical role in the operational, financial and clinical success of medical practices and health systems. This not only means faster throughput and shorter wait times, but also enables health care providers to use their time to provide better care for their patients, rather than filling out paperwork.

In regard to conversational automation, specifically, Shukla said, “not only does it help patients and their families get faster, more accurate answers to their most pressing questions, but it can also help verify insurance benefits instantly and it can tie into the patient’s electronic health record in order to ensure a higher quality of care.”

Providing on-demand support is critical to improving access to mental health services

Digital channels empower facility discovery: 49% of patients and their families learned about their chosen treatment facilities online using website tools like chatbots, much more frequently than through word of mouth (25%), doctor recommendations (19%), or advertisements (7%).

Chatbots are already popular patient tools: 61% of respondents said that their organizations already had conversational AI tools in place on their websites to answer questions from prospective patients or their families.

AI chat is perfectly positioned to answer FAQs: The most common topics patients and their families broach before enrolling in treatment include cost (68%), insurance coverage (60%), duration of treatment (46%), available types of treatment (43%), and payment options (41%). These are all questions that automated chatbots are designed to answer, providing patients with the support they need without requiring additional employee effort.

“The good news is that the majority of mental health facilities are already embracing chatbots and other technologies,” said Shukla, “but based on our findings, the industry as a whole still has some work to do in order to improve mental health support for those who need it, and for minorities in particular.”

In June 2022, Botco AI surveyed approximately 120 executives, including vice presidents, executive directors, facility managers and admissions directors, employed at mental health facilities, behavioral health organizations, addiction treatment providers and rehabilitation centers.

Read the full report from Botco AI.

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Categories
Game

‘PowerWash Simulator’ players can now aid mental health research

PowerWash Simulator players can now take part in a research project that looks at the links between gaming and mental health. Developer FuturLab has teamed up with independent researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute for a “a one-of-a-kind anonymous research study centered around the wellbeing of PowerWash Simulator’s players.”

FuturLab says it’s working on in-game rewards for participants. If you’d like to take part, you’ll need a copy of the game on Steam. You’ll also need to download a separate build of PowerWash Simulator. From the Betas menu under Properties, select the “research-edition – Research Edition 2022” option.

As points out, this build will provide two types of anonymized data to the researchers. They’ll receive information on players’ progress, item purchases and other activities as part of a “base telemetry” dataset.

The second type of data is obtained through questions that the researchers will be able to ask players about their experience. These will seemingly only take players a couple of seconds to answer. Players will also be able to provide feedback to researchers through a “Tell us how you feel” button in the menu. FuturLab won’t have access to these responses.

Your game progress won’t carry over between the regular game and the Research Edition (though taking part in the study will earn you cosmetic rewards in the main game). This is to help make sure study data is consistent and to avoid issues with save data. In addition, the Research Edition won’t have a multiplayer mode and it will only have English-language support. FuturLab added that the Research Edition will be available for at least three months.

PowerWash Simulator, at least from my experience, is a relaxing game. It’s just you, a power washer, perhaps a friend or two, maybe some soap and a whole lot of virtual gunk to blast away. It’s not hard to see why many folks might find it soothing.

A number of studies into the benefits of gaming on mental health and wellbeing have been conducted over the years with mixed results. that playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, both of which have sturdy , may be good for you (the study was conducted in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic). However, a , which looked at the gameplay habits of nearly 40,000 people, found that gaming had no significant impact on wellbeing.

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Categories
Security

Lapsus$ gang claims new hack with data from Apple Health partner

After a short “vacation,” the Lapsus$ hacking gang is back. In a post shared through the group’s Telegram channel on Wednesday, Lapsus$ claimed to have stolen 70GB of data from Globant — an international software development firm headquartered in Luxembourg, which boasts some of the world’s largest companies as clients.

Screenshots of the hacked data, originally posted by Lapsus$ and shared on Twitter by security researcher Dominic Alvieri, appeared to show folders bearing the names of a range of global businesses: among them were delivery and logistics company DHL, US cable network C-Span, and French bank BNP Paribas.

Also in the list were tech giants Facebook and Apple, with the latter referred to in a folder titled “apple-health-app.” The data appears to be development material for Globant’s BeHealthy app, described in a prior press release as software developed in partnership with Apple to track employee health behaviors using features of the Apple Watch. Apple did not a request for comment at time of publication.

Globant acknowledged the hack in a press release later the same day. “According to our current analysis, the information that was accessed was limited to certain source code and project-related documentation for a very limited number of clients,” the company said. “To date, we have not found any evidence that other areas of our infrastructure systems or those of our clients were affected.”

On Telegram, Lapsus$ shared a torrent link to the allegedly stolen data with a message announcing, “We are officially back from a vacation.”

If confirmed, the leak would show a swift return to activity after seven suspected members of Lapsus$ were arrested by British police less than a week ago.

The arrests, first reported on March 24th by BBC News, were carried out by City of London Police after a yearlong investigation into the alleged ringleader of the gang, who is believed to be a teenager living with his parents in Oxford. On the other side of the Atlantic, the FBI is also seeking information on Lapsus$ related to the breach of US companies.

The Lapsus$ gang has been remarkably prolific in the range and scale of companies it has breached, having previously extracted data from a number of well-known technology companies, including Nvidia, Samsung, Microsoft, and Vodafone.

Most recently, Lapsus$ was in the spotlight for a hack affecting the authentication platform Okta, which put thousands of businesses on high alert against subsequent breaches. The latter hack has been an embarrassment for a company that provides security services to other businesses and led to criticism of Okta for a slow disclosure.

Correction, 1:38PM ET: A previous version of this post overstated the connection between the breached data and Apple. The data labelled as “apple-health” was not data from Apple itself, but from an app developed in partnership with Apple. The Verge regrets the error.

Update 5:25 PM ET: Added statement from Globant.



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Categories
AI

Notable aims to improve AI in health care with new $100M

This article is part of a VB special issue. Read the full series: AI and the future of health care


Notable, an intelligent automation company focused on health care, today announced it received a $100 million series B funding round. The investment, led by ICONIQ Growth with participation from Greylock Ventures, Oak HC/ FT, and F-Prime, will be used to expand access to more health care providers and enhance its capabilities, so partners achieve a higher return on investment.

The reality is that many health care providers still use repetitive, manual workflows, which cost over $1 trillion in administrative overhead per year. A patient may spend seven minutes with a physician – but that visit could result in hundreds of minutes of administrative work per clinician, according to Pranay Kapadia, cofounder, and CEO of Notable. Using AI, Notable can eliminate more than 700 minutes of that administrative work, including creating clinical documentation and adding billing codes for the insurance claim processing.

The investment points to a larger industry trend toward using AI to improve patient care and streamline processes. Care sites like Intermountain Healthcare and CommonSpirit Health already use Notable, which automates everything from patient scheduling and check-in to post-visit follow-up, as well as creating clinical documentation and adding billing codes.

Demand for AI continues to increase as patients expect a digital-first experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the “great resignation” that has left every industry — including health care — short-staffed. “Technology needs to drive ten times the efficiency at a quarter of the cost,” said Kapadia.

“Technology is the future of everything, and health care is no exception,” said Andrew J. Scott, founding partner of 7percent Ventures. “Artificial intelligence is already having a positive impact. Companies like Kheiron Medical can already perform mammography analysis for breast cancer better than a human.”

7percent Ventures invests in AI technology including Limbic, which uses AI for mental health triage and support, and Kherion Medical, which provides improved breast cancer diagnosis. These “are the sorts of transformative technologies that have a positive impact and improve the way we live,” he said.

Will AI Provide All Diagnoses?

Going all-in on AI in a health care setting may speed up a diagnosis – but it also takes away a physician’s autonomy in making the diagnosis and recommending treatment, according to Robert Wachter, MD, professor, and chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

“There are a lot of sources of pushback, from the physician’s ego to worries about malpractice and who is liable, to ethical issues around AI,” such as whether the data is biased, he said. For example, the data may note that patients of one race don’t need as much medication as patients of another, without taking into account that particular patient’s situation.

AI will tackle more tractable problems like workflows before heading into the more difficult ones like diagnosis and prognosis, but there won’t be a real “AI moment,” Wachter said. “You start …where the stakes are less high, with business and operational problems.”

Instead, AI will augment what physicians are doing and provide options, including triage, but ultimately leave the decision up to the physician’s discretion.

“I see AI working silently behind the scenes of the busy clinician,” said Chris Larkin, chief technology officer at Concord Technologies. “The models will continue to gather data on patient diagnosis and trajectories and update the clinician when it’s appropriate. This is more like modern avionics, working on behalf of the pilot of the aircraft.”

For example, ICU nurses hear thousands of patient alarms on their shifts, many of which are false. AI can help the nurses decide which ones are most pressing based on the patient’s diagnosis and attend to them first, Larkin said.

Some clinicians already are using AI and machine learning exactly this way. “I’ve used VIDA Insights as an AI agent to assist me in interpreting chest CTs,” said John Newell, MD, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering, director of the Radiology Image Phenotyping Laboratory, and the co-director of the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging.

Additionally, AI can help lower costs for both patients and health care organizations while providing better care. “If AI can help us to diagnose disease earlier and with more accuracy, the impact on reducing the cost of patient care can be significant,” Newell said.

“For example, a patient with early-stage COPD spends about $1,600 [per] year on care versus a patient with advanced-stage COPD who spends nearly $11,000 [per] year. COPD is often diagnosed later in the disease process, so any tools that can help providers identify it early can have a massive impact on population health care costs.”

Despite the opportunities AI provides for the health care industry, humans will always be needed — and AI doesn’t aim to entirely displace them. “With all the AI in the world, [there’s still] a certain level of empathy that comes in health care,” Kapadia said, noting that, like comforting a child with a sore throat, AI isn’t needed for that.

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Categories
AI

Medical device leader Medtronic joins race to bring AI to health care

Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device company, is significantly increasing its investments into AI and other technologies, in what it says is an effort to help the health care industry catch up with other industries.

While many other industries have embraced technology, health care has been slower. Studies reveal that only 20% of consumers would trust AI-generated health care advice.

VentureBeat interviewed Torod Neptune, Medtronic’s senior vice president and chief communications officer, and Gio Di Napoli, president of Medtronic’s Gastrointestinal Unit, to discuss the company’s vision of the future of health care technology.

Digital transformation in health care

Neptune spoke about Medtronic’s transition beyond traditional med tech to more innovative solutions using AI. He noted that health care technology — through its unusual scale and ability to harness data analytics, algorithms, and intelligence — plays a significant role in solving big problems in the AI field.

Artificial intelligence increases the detection of early cancer by 14% compared to normal colonoscopy, Di Napoli said. This is very important because “every percentage of increase in detection reduces the risk of cancer by 2%,” he said.

Building on Medtronic’s medical devices already serving millions (like its miniature pacemaker, smart insulin pump, and more), the company’s plan to make health care more predictive and personal led to the development of GI Genius Intelligent Endoscopy Module (granted USFDA de novo clearance on April 9, 2021, and launched on April 12, 2021).

Medical equipment arranged in shelves on a cart, with a large monitor on top that shows an intestinal scan in progress.

Above: Medtronic says its GI Genius Intelligent Endoscopy Module is the first-to-market computer-aided polyp detection system powered by artificial intelligence.

The GI Genius module is the first and only artificial intelligence system for colonoscopy, according to Medtronic, assisting physicians in detecting precancerous growths and potentially addressing 19 million colonoscopies annually. The company says the module serves as a vigilant second observer, using sophisticated AI-powered technology to detect and highlight the presence of precancerous lesions with a visual marker in real time.

Investing in innovative health care

Medtronic has launched more than 190 health care technology products in the past 12 months. It also invests $2.5 billion yearly on research and development (R&D). Medtronic’s CEO, Geoff Martha, recently announced a 10% boost in R&D spending by FY22.

This enormous investment, the largest R&D increase in company history, underscores Medtronic’s focus on innovation and technology.

The company says it plans to expand the number of patients it serves each year, with the goal being 85 million by FY25.

According to Di Napoli, “AI is here. And it’s here to stay.”

A new era of health care

Speaking further about health care technology, Di Napoli says, “I can tell from my personal experience within the gastrointestinal business that there is a need for training and getting to know artificial intelligence as a partner and not as an enemy. And I think it’s critical for companies like ours to keep collecting data to improve our algorithms, to improve how our customers decide based on this data, and also improve patients outcomes with this.”

Although data collection comes with security concerns and privacy issues, Di Napoli says that the company is in constant communication with the FDA to understand the process to put in place to protect sensitive data for the future.

Neptune believes that technology and data drive patient empowerment in a much more significant way, based on more comfortable user adoption over the last 20 months. He said, “I think the pandemic has enabled more comfort and consideration, and there’s a global shift and willingness to engage and adopt new technological solutions.”

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Categories
AI

Google announces health tool to identify skin conditions

Google’s latest foray into health care is a web tool that uses artificial intelligence to help people identify skin, hair, or nail conditions. The company previewed the tool at I/O today, and it says it hopes to launch a pilot later this year.

People can use their phone’s camera to take three pictures of the problem area — for example, a rash on their arm. They’ll then answer a series of questions about their skin type and other symptoms. The tool then gives a list of possible conditions from a set of 288 that it’s trained to recognize. It’s not intended to diagnose the problem, the company said in a blog post.

The Google tool asks people to take three photos of a skin problem, and then it offers possible conditions.
Image: Google

Google decided to tackle skin conditions using artificial intelligence because of their prevalence, says Karen DeSalvo, the chief health officer at Google Health. “People are coming to Google to ask questions about skin conditions. We get about 10 billion annual skin condition queries,” she said in an interview with The Verge. Of course, experts can help people determine if it’s something simple or indicative of a more serious illness, but there’s a shortage of dermatologists all over the world. DeSalvo hopes this tool can help get people accurate information about potential conditions, quickly, without having to spend hours doing their own online research.

The team trained the model on millions of images of skin problems, thousands of images of healthy skin, and 65,000 images from clinical settings. The model takes factors like age, skin type, sex, and race into account when suggesting possible conditions. When it was tested on around 1,000 images of skin problems from a diverse range of patients, Google says it identified the correct condition in the top three suggestions 84 percent of the time. It included the correct condition as one of the possible issues 97 percent of the time.

The new system builds on Google’s past work using artificial intelligence tools to identify skin conditions. The company published the first iteration of its deep learning system in Nature Medicine last spring. That paper showed that the system could identify 26 common skin conditions just as accurately as dermatologists and more accurately than primary care doctors. In April, the company published another study showing that the system could help non-dermatologist physicians diagnose skin conditions more accurately.

Google is also working with a Stanford University research team to test how well the tool works in a health care setting.

The company obtained a Class I medical device mark for the tool in the European Union, designating it as a low-risk medical device. It has not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Related:

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Categories
AI

Using digital twins in health care to stave off the grim reaper

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VentureBeat caught up with NTT Research Medical & Health Informatics Lab director Dr. Joe Alexander, who elaborated on his view of the future of “bio digital twins,” which promise to improve precision medicine and bring digital transformation to the health care industry.

Japanese telecom giant NTT has launched a major initiative to improve digital health through precision medicine using digital twin technology. This project is part of NTT Research, a new R&D hub focused on basic research. The goal is to address long-term technological challenges with solutions that, once achieved, can positively impact wider ranges of businesses and many parts of our lives. These projects are not tied to specific product roll-out plans but could lead to much more significant long-term improvements than conventional incremental research conducted by enterprises.

The why behind the digital twin application

VentureBeat: What exactly is medical and health informatics — where does it fit into the landscape of other enterprise medical software like EHRs, diagnostics, telemedicine, and research?

Dr. Joe Alexander: Medical informatics is the sub-discipline of health informatics that directly impacts the patient-physician relationship. It focuses on the information technology that enables the effective collection of data using technology tools to develop medical knowledge and to facilitate the delivery of patient medical care. The goal of medical informatics is to ensure access to critical patient medical information at the precise time and place it is needed to make medical decisions. Medical informatics also focuses on the management of medical data for research and education.

The acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of health care information to foster better collaboration among a patient’s various health care providers is the study of health informatics. It plays a critical role in the push toward health care reform. Health informatics is an evolving specialization that links information technology, communications, and health care to improve the quality and safety of patient care. EHRs help providers better manage care for patients and are an important part of health informatics.

Telemedicine has more to do with the access and sharing of medical information for the purpose of treating patients remotely. The term “diagnostics” can be applied to any process or device that involves techniques for (medical) diagnoses.

One current area of research that is of particular interest to our team is precision cardiology. This includes the cardiovascular bio digital twin as well as heart-on-a-chip technologies.

Research at MEI Labs does not currently target EHR software development or telemedicine per se. Our work does support remote monitoring, diagnostics, and advanced therapeutics.

VentureBeat: What is the bio digital twin initiative, and how do you plan to advance it?

Alexander: A bio digital twin is an up-to-date virtual representation (an electronic replica) which provides real-time insights into the status of a real-world asset to enable better management and to inform decision-making. This concept has been applied to the preventive maintenance of jet engines and may be applied as well to the predictive maintenance of health.

The Bio Digital Twin (BioDT) initiative aims to individualize and revolutionize health care by use of BioDT technologies. We will first realize precision cardiology on multiple scales through development of a cardiovascular BioDT (CV BioDT) and heart-on-a-chip platforms. The CV BioDT is at the whole organ physiological system level, whereas the heart-on-a-chip is at a microfluidics level, making use of an individual’s stem cells to make in vitro organs.

For the CV BioDT, we will begin with acute conditions (acute myocardial infarction and acute heart failure) and progress to chronic cardiovascular conditions and their co-morbidities and complications. The latter requires heavy dependence on organ systems other than the heart. Ultimately, based on our accumulating knowledge of underlying physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms (together with advanced sensing technologies), we will be able to move into wellness and prevention.

Can digital twins in health care save a life?

VentureBeat: What is the value of a digital twin, and how does it build upon other technologies for capturing and managing medical data or simulating things?

Alexander: We expect that our bio digital twin will best enable individualized care. By reproducing an individual’s entire physiology based on causal mechanisms, we should be able to predict health issues as well as provide recommendations for therapies in complex patients through “what if” scenario testing.

Autonomous therapies — delivered by the bio digital twin — become possible, where the physician would simply monitor autonomous devices. Virtual clinical trials in populations of bio digital twins also become feasible and would dramatically accelerate drug (or vaccine) development.

What we are proposing is not evolutionary, but revolutionary. An ambitious project of this scope and scale will take time. We will certainly need continuously to inventory the evolving trajectories of clinical and technology landscapes for facilitatory impact points.

VentureBeat: Why did you decide to start with the heart, and how will this complement other, similar efforts?

Alexander: We started with cardiovascular disease because it is the global leading cause of death. One of the principal missions of NTT Research is to provide long-term benefits to humanity; this is fundamental to deciding what projects to pursue.

Our immediate cardiovascular disease targets will be acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and acute heart failure (acute HF). We will pursue chronic heart failure and other conditions afterwards.

VentureBeat: What’s next in digital twins and why?

Alexander: Following development of the CV BioDT, our next pursuit will be neurodegenerative diseases, e.g., Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Our reasoning here is similar: neurodegenerative diseases are the 2nd leading cause of death, at least in the U.S.

Organs on a chip

VentureBeat: What kinds of things are you working on with nano and microscale sensors and electrodes?

Alexander: MEI Lab is developing “organ-on-a-chip” microfluidics platforms as well as three-dimensionally transformable and implantable electrodes. This work involves the exploration and examination of new materials that include nanofibers and nanofiber-based paper electrodes.

VentureBeat: Which ones show the most promise in the short term and possibility in the long term?

Alexander: This is a difficult question for me to answer since I am not directly involved in the research. However, all our targets tend to be long term. Based on current progress, microscale three-dimensionally transformable electrodes for sensing are more promising in the shorter term, followed by similar types of electrodes for both stimulating and sensing. Organ-on-a-chip platforms will likely mature in the longer term.

VentureBeat: What are some of the key developments in digital biomarkers, wearable technologies, and remote sensing you are exploring?

Alexander: While we are in an ongoing background process of doing a clinical and technical landscape inventory of such devices, we have not yet developed a strategy within the MEI Lab to point us in any particular directions. Our focus right now is on acute conditions where patients are hospitalized and well-instrumented for access to the directly observable data necessary for early model building, verification, and validation.

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Categories
AI

HeyRenee is the next home health care startup for Heal founders

All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.


HeyRenee has raised $3.8 million for a personal health care concierge — the latest home health care business from the founders of Heal.

Husband and wife team Renee Dua and Nick Desai started Heal in 2014 after a bad experience in an emergency room with their son. They created a startup that let doctors make house calls to see patients in their homes or via remote telemedicine appointments. Mobile health care became a huge trend during the pandemic and grew to serve patients in a number of stages.

Backstory

Over seven years, Heal raised more than $120 million. But Desai started thinking about what he wanted to do next and left in March. Dua stayed on longer to finish up her work as the company’s chief medical officer. Then she also left. For a time, they focused on taking care of their family, and then they started thinking about their next startup.

That’s where HeyRenee comes in. It’s a service that has similar vibes to Heal in that it focuses on patients and using digital technology to provide better health care. In this case, HeyRenee focuses on helping the elderly, the underserved, those with chronic health conditions, and others manage their patient care. The aim is to use the concierge service to tie together all of the patients’ medical needs — from prescriptions to doctor visits — through one digital helper.

Renee Dua founded HeyRenee after taking care of her father.

Above: Renee Dua cofounded HeyRenee after taking care of her father.

Image Credit: HeyRenee

Open platform

Los Angeles-based HeyRenee will be an open platform that will eventually work with every provider, partner, and point solution to curate the necessary combination of services for each patient’s specific needs.

Quiet Capital led the oversubscribed $3.8 million funding round, with Mucker Capital, Fika Ventures, Tau Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and SaaS Venture Capital also participating. HeyRenee is using seed proceeds to curate digital health partners, build a team of product and engineering leaders, and win early customers.

Dua, a practicing nephrologist, said in a statement that it’s “impossibly difficult for all of us, certainly older, sicker Americans, to follow the many instructions from their doctors.” She said those instructions are the recipe for leading happier, healthier lives, but people need help managing them.

She added that HeyRenee’s aim is to build something to finally slow the progression and exploding costs of easily treated chronic diseases, like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and mental health issues, by easing the burden of managing health care.

About 85% of the people who used telehealth options during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had a household income over $150,000. However, the true potential of the digital health revolution is to transform care for those with the fewest financial resources, the company said. HeyRenee aims to do that by demystifying and integrating previously disconnected point solutions and providers to work together in a data-driven symphony for a delightfully easy patient-centric experience, Desai said.

Nick Desai is cofounder of HeyRenee.

Above: Nick Desai is cofounder of HeyRenee.

Image Credit: HeyRenee

Health care helper

HeyRenee intends to ease the burden of health care coordination — from appointment scheduling, in-home services, and medication delivery to telehealth and the monitoring of symptoms and vital signs via one easy-to-use app. HeyRenee won’t provide an actual personal caretaker to care for a specific patient, but such a caretaker might use HeyRenee to manage a patient’s care, Desai said.

Tau Ventures managing partner Amit Garg said in a statement that his firm invests in AI-first companies and that having a moat around data is key. He touted the founders’ experience and said he believes HeyRenee will help improve the lives of patients.

And the founders reminded us that the business is personal. In the aftermath of a surgery on her father, Dua saw his memory was greatly affected. He had new cognitive difficulties because the hospital stay wiped him out. She became his caretaker and is bringing this knowledge to HeyRenee because she believes everyone needs a “Renee” as a best friend on their health care journey.

The platform is expected to launch in 2022.

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Categories
Computing

Microsoft Edge Version 92 Has New Password Health Dashboard

Microsoft’s Edge web browser just got a new feature that ensures you’re a bit safer when browsing the web.

Now rolling out in version 92 of Edge is a new password health dashboard, to help you decide if the password you’ve saved is strong enough, or used on another website.

Once Edge is updated to version 92, you can try out this feature by tapping the Profile section in Edge’s settings menu. Then, you can look under Saved Passwords. From there, you’ll see a health meter that showcases how strong and healthy your password is. Edge will let you know if the password is leaked, if it is weak and reused, or if it is a weak password or reused password. There will also be an indicator for no known issues, and if you’ve decided to hide the health of the password.

In addition to this feature on the desktop version of Microsoft Edge, there’s the ability to use saved credentials in Edge on mobile to sign in to other apps and browsers. This works with apps like Instagram, Pinterest. “All of this is designed to put you first and help you — and the ones you love — stay safer online,” said Liat Ben-Zur, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.

Though not directly related to the Edge 92 release, Microsoft is announcing the new Microsoft Outlook browser extension. With the extension, you can enjoy mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks from within Edge without having to open a new tab. It is available for download on the Edge Add-Ons store.

Edge 92 also brings some improvements for the Collections feature. You can now save web captures, which are in-browser screenshots, into the Collections area in Edge. This should make it easier to revisit web captures, and stay in the flow of looking for recipes or even shopping.

Another small feature in this release is the ability to share your response to the news and headlines on the New Tab Page. Microsoft says you’ll be able to use emojis to like, love, or share thoughts about news and content feeds. You even can read comments from others, or sign in, set up a profile, and take part in the conversation.

Microsoft Edge should auto-update to version 92 when it is available for download. You can manually download today by clicking the three dots at the top right of your screen, choosing Settings, and then clicking About Microsoft Edge.

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Categories
AI

How AI can enable better health care outcomes

Join executive leaders at the Data, Analytics, & Intelligent Automation Summit, presented by Accenture. Register here.


Artificial intelligence isn’t just a tool for pure tech — health care providers can use it too. Clinical practice and AI go together, three top health care leaders at national enterprises agreed during a panel at Transform 2021 hosted by VentureBeat general manager Shuchi Rana.

Using data to reduce medical waste and over-testing can help hospital systems save money, said Dr. Doug Melton, head of clinical and customer analytics at Evernorth, a subsidiary of insurance giant Cigna. “Before, we had unsupervised learning, and it was harder to do. You had to be prescriptive in your hypotheses,” Melton said.

AI has the potential to help clinicians improve patient outcomes, said Dr. Taha Kass-Hout, director and chief medical officer at Amazon Web Services. Medical records can be a great source of data to develop algorithms, speech recognition, and decision-making tools that could help doctors and nurses identify risk factors for serious illnesses such as congestive heart failure.

Early breast and lung cancer detection is another outcome that not only helps patients, but also benefits enterprise leaders. At Evernorth, Melton’s team used machine learning to analyze pre-certifications for radiology and past claims data, identifying who was at higher risk of developing more serious health issues down the line. ML improves prevention and holistic management, Melton said, and improves cost savings for both the patient and provider by as much as 3 times.

Data analytics are also key to reducing other hospital costs, said Dr. Joe Colorafi, system VP of clinical data science and analytics at Commonspirit Health. By crunching the numbers, researchers can find which hospital stays last too long and when clinicians are over-assigned to a patient.

Collecting additional data from users can also help providers determine a holistic health care plan, Melton said. For instance, information on stressors in patients’ lives and other social determinants of health, such as access to fresh food and stable housing, can anchor plans to improve health outcomes. “When we do that, I think we can have whole-person medicine instead of acute care management,” Melton said.

Think of AI as a toolbox to understand the information presented to health care providers, Kass-Hout said. Using machine learning to narrow down symptoms and diagnoses also means building a repository of information to improve health systems. For instance, the accuracy of Amazon Web Services’ model to predict congestive heart failure increased by 4% as the algorithms took in notes about how physicians were treating the condition and monitoring patients for symptoms.

VentureBeat

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Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:

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Repost: Original Source and Author Link